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Saturday Jun 18, 2022

Steve Borthwick Shows What It Means To Win A Premiership

Leicester Tigers been crowned as the Gallagher Premiership for 2022 in a remarkable turnaround for the club.

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The Tigers started the season with a bang and have remained the form side in England for the full 2022 season.

Having had their fair share of struggles both on and off the field over the past number of seasons the Tigers return to prominence is a blueprint of what can be achieved by a club when stability is put in place.

The Tigers for so long were giants of the European game with legends such as Martin Johnson, Alex Tuilagi and Martin Castrogiovanni all representing the red, white and green.

As the golden era of players began to fade away and sides such as Saracens, Exeter and Harlequins all enjoyed periods of dominance it was feared the Tigers may never return.

When club legend and head coach Richard Cockerill was shown the door, a revolving door of coaches began. Legends of the club such as Geordan Murphy and Aaron Mauger had short lived times at the helm before they too were shown the door.

So when it was announced that Bath and Saracens stalwart Steve Borthwick would be leaving his post as England’s forwards coach to take over there was certainly a few raised eyebrows.

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Borthwick had been immensely successful with England under Eddie Jones and the move was certainly a risk.

Having essentially finished last in the 2019/20 season ahead of only Saracens who were docked over 100 points for their salary cap infringements, the task facing Borthwick was significant.

Almost immediately his influence could be seen on the club as they rose to 6th in the table the following season and with it returned to European action.

Not only did they return but they also topped Pool B with four wins from four which was followed up by an immensely impressive dismantling of French Top14 giants Clermont Auvergne.

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Whilst their European dream faded at the hands of losing finalists Leinster, the Tigers carried their overall form with them for the remainder of the Premiership season.

Saturday’s final was a culmination of Borthwick’s two years of hard graft. Of course, it took more than just hard work to get to this point, Borthwick showed his ability to think outside the box. Starting with his selection of Ellis Genge as captain, viewed by many to be a liability.

What the naysayers did not take into account was that Genge epitomised everything that is great about the Tigers. He is uncompromising, tough and just plain narky in the best possible way.

When both your club captain and coach are determined to succeed rather than being afraid to fail, a club has a powerful sense of purpose. This purpose then translates to direction which when kept on course can achieve greatness.

Few will argue that what Borthwick has achieved in such a short space of time must surely put him in line with the hottest names in the coaching world.

As Ronan O’Gara and Scott Robertson rightly sit atop the pile of young coaches, Borthwick is right there with them and could well be a future England head coach.

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